Everyday fitness

by 16 Oct 2007

When it comes to getting fit, most people want an easy solution that fits into their schedule and isn’t hard to do. Strange as it seems, some people don’t like sweat, sore muscles, dieting and 5am starts. Unfortunately for those people, proper nutrition and exercise is still the best way to lose weight and get fit. The good news, however, is that there are things you can add to your daily routine that will help you burn calories and gain strength, which is a good first step.

Walk more. Get a pedometer and track your steps for a few days in your normal routine. Then, make an effort to add 20, 30, maybe even 50 per cent to that and maintain it. Park further away from the office. Take a walk during lunch. Avoid shortcuts and take the scenic route. Take the stairs. Walking up stairs or hills burns far more calories than walking on level ground. This extra walking won’t fatigue you, and you’ll be surprised how little extra time each day it takes to do it.

Sit up straight (without your back touching the chair), draw your stomach muscles toward your spine and relax your shoulders. This engages your core muscles, which stabilise every basic movement your body does. Activating these muscles often will strengthen them in time. Stronger, denser muscle burns more fat. Your posture will also improve, possibly reducing some stress-related pains in places like your shoulders and lower back.

Drink more water. The stronger your muscles are, the more effectively you’ll burn fat. Muscle tissue is 80 per cent water, so keeping hydrated is a good way to keep your muscles functioning properly. Keeping hydrated can also help reduce food cravings, so it’s much easier to watch what you eat. If you do feel the need to snack, try healthy options as much as possible. You don’t need to stop eating what you want entirely, but cut back on sugars, saturated fats and processed foods.

There are hundreds of ways to get healthy. These are just some easy ideas to get you started. It’s not enough to get you to the Olympics, but in time, you’ll start to see results, and maybe even decide to try a more challenging routine.

By Brian Merrill, certified fitness trainer. Email: b.e.merrill@gmail.com